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Sempster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The illustrious surname Sempster finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Sempster is a local type of surname and the Sempster family lived in the village of Somaister, in the county of Cornwall.

Early Origins of the Sempster family


The surname Sempster was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Old Port in Modbury, from very ancient times, some say long before the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Sempster family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sempster research.
Another 221 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 164 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Sempster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sempster Spelling Variations


Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Somester, Somaster, Summaster, Sumaister, Sommester, Sommaster, Simister, Semister, Simester and many more.

Early Notables of the Sempster family (pre 1700)


More information is included under the topic Early Sempster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Sempster family to the New World and Oceana


An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Sempster: Willaim Simister to Virginia in 1659; and S. Sommester landed in America in 1750.

The Sempster Motto


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Quasi summus magister
Motto Translation: As though the highest master.


Sempster Family Crest Products



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